Sunday, February 23, 2014
Welk-ome back to the Starlite Lounge, dear friends, and get ready for some Easy Listening from the man whose name is synonymous with cornball music the world over, Lawrence Welk! We never miss an episode of the Lawrence Welk Show when it's on TV here at the Lounge, but this little album here is a little bit different than we're used to hearing on the show. This one is all about the strings, baby, and it's way more department store than his usual big band renditions, the ones that are normally bursting with horns and saxes. In fact, in a blind listening test conducted among 100 boozers here at the Lounge, most guessed this was Percy Faith and not La' Welk. But just check out that cover if you don't believe me, displaying all of Larry's disdain for elegantly designed packaging--indeed, it seems as if this record was created for those consumers who like to buy their records, throw the jacket in the garbage can, and stack their naked vinyl in one of those barbaric mid-century-modern wire racks. Percy Faith would have at least put a beautiful woman on the cover, or a soft-focus image of young lovers wandering through a sunlit landscape. Love him or hate him, there's one thing I'm sure you Starliters can relate to: his relentless promotion of alcoholic culture by marketing his sound as "Champagne music"! We present to you our personal rip of "Wonderful! Wonderful!" in glorious mono, so feel free to get ripped with Larry. -hic-
Your Champagne Experience is here!
Friday, February 14, 2014
Welcome to the Starlite Lounge, come in out of that rain! For all of you who know the joys of a raging thunderstorm, tonight's feature is the 1966 debut album by the Mystic Moods Orchestra. As the title suggests, this is more than just music, it's a combination of instrumental performances and the sound effects of a rainstorm. This concept is something that the Mystic Moods Orchestra made a career of, eventually taking their act on the road and supposedly recording sound effects live on the spot to be mixed with the music. We can't say for sure, but we're pretty sure these sound effects are simulated at times. Those lightning strikes sound a little bit like cardboard boxes being struck with a broom handle. But no matter, whether it's live or Memorex, we love the Mystic Moods approach to a swank evening. This debut was re-released many times since the original 1966 date, including a memorable edition from 1975 that included a peekaboo die-cut cover revealing the faces of a couple through a window, only to slide the inner sleeve out and reveal the couple fully nude standing in the window. We're not saying it's safe for work, but you can view those images here. Although we're not wild about some of the musical choices here, we do love all that rain. One track, "Local Freight", is nothing more than a train off in the distance. Just don't get carried away with all those rain effects...if you do, we think we should tell you the facilities are down the hall to the right!
Your Mystic Moods experience awaits!
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Never trust a seagull. They're mean-spirited, messy, and unpredictable--just ask Melanie Daniels. But nevertheless, they do look good on an album cover, and this cover for Earl Grant's "Ebb Tide and Other Instrumental Favorites" is one of our favorites, too. The album ain't too bad, either, and we think you're really gonna be impressed with Earl's organ. Aside from "Ebb Tide", Earl rocks a number of other standards as well, including "Deep Purple", "Misty", and our favorite track on the album "That's All". It's the mono pressing! Stereo still turns us on, don't misunderstand--it's just that unique mono allure is hard to resist. Included as a bonus track is an edit of "Stormy Weather" shorn of its showy intro, just in case you wanna keep things nice and mellow.
Your High Fidelity Mono magic is here!
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Who loves a harp? Obviously all the neato ladies do, because check out these two. Oooooo, that harp is just too hot to touch, but those fluttering hands are all too eager to feel the magic anyway. Maybe you'll understand, too, when you hear Gene Bianco, Mundell Lowe and friends spread the stardust around with this collection, containing both standards by Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and Lerner/Lowe, and also a few offbeat numbers and even an original or two. Don't tell Gene, but what we're really crazy about is that far out vibraphone played by Joe Venuto. Because we know you like mono as much as we do, this is the original mono pressing, baby! One more thing...are these girls technically harpies?
Your New Orthophonic experience is here!
Your New Orthophonic experience is here!